Scott Spiker cajoled a friend into a 6 A.M. ride on a rolling section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route just outside Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. "If you get up early enough, you can spin this gravel road for 40 miles and not see another soul," Spiker says.
The Montana-based photographer snapped this shot with a 300mm lens just after the fog rolled in off the Flathead River. He used 100-speed film and exposed the image at f/4 for 1/400 second.
Michael Llewellyn staked out this spot along the course of a Tour de France qualifying race in Li√®ge, Belgium, last spring while covering international cycling's unfolding drug scandal. "I wanted the riders to appear blurred and silhouetted against the cloud to give the shot an ominous feel," explains the Los Angeles-based photographer. "There was no horizon, just sky."
Llewellyn had two tripod-mounted cameras at the ready and snapped three shots as the peloton blew past; for this image, he used a 90mm lens and exposed the 400-speed film at f/8 for 1/250 second.
Cameron Lawson walked into a Salt Lake City bike shop half a mile from his house and recruited Mark Christensen, a part-time sales clerk and avid mountain biker, to be the subject of this photo, taken at Utah's vast, unearthly Bonneville Salt Flats. Lawson built a three-and-a-half-foot-high ramp out of plywood and two-by-fours for Christensen and climbed to the top of a ladder to shoot the airborne cyclist from above. "It's a totally flat landscape, but the 16mm fisheye makes it a sphere," says the adventure-sports photographer.
Lawson used 50-speed film, a shutter speed of 1/500 second, and an f-stop of 5.6.
Stephen Wilde photographed Australia's mountain-biking scene while tagging along on a friend's cross-continental road trip. In the suburbs of Adelaide, Wilde met Steve Marsh, then a five-time national trials champion, and spent a couple of days shooting him in his natural habitat: on the trails around his home, and here, on the homemade downhill track in his backyard. "This is a 180-degree hairpin corner about five feet across," explains the Calgary, Alberta-based adventure documentary photographer. "It's the kind of corner where you or I would stumble through it, but he made it look like an amusement-park ride."
Wilde used 200-speed film, a shutter speed of 1/30 second, and a 20mm lens set at f/2.8
Jakob Helbig shot Paul Verch√©re and Andy Macmillan pedaling the summit trail of the Ar√™te de Berroi in Switzerland, with the 9,840-foot peaks of Les Dents du Midi in the background. "This area has some of the best mountain biking in the Alps," says the Danish commercial photographer, who is based in Copenhagen.
He used a 200mm lens set at f/4, exposing 100-speed film for 1/1,000 second.
Robert B√∂sch captured this image of pro German mountain biker Tarek Rasouli on a chilly afternoon in Italy's Dolomites. "I had to shoot wearing a helmet and crouching behind a pack so I wouldn't get pummeled with rocks," says the 48-year-old Ober√§geri, Switzerland-based photographer and former mountain guide.
He loaded 50-speed film, set his 35mm lens to f/2.8, and opened the shutter for 1/250 second.
Brian Bailey schlepped his photo gear into Whistler Blackcomb's bike park and shot pro mountain biker Brent Floyd hitting this well-known jump, the Garbanzo Hip. "Freeriding is this wild, superfast, adrenalized sport," says the 44-year-old lensman, who lives in Carbondale, Colorado, "but I like to freeze it and reveal the style of the athlete. And what better setting than the mountains of British Columbia?"
Shooting digitally, Bailey used a 200mm lens and an ISO of 100, with an exposure time of 1/1,000 second at f/4.
John Gibson is one of the 37 premier adventure-sports photographers whose work appears in Faces. It takes perseverance and serendipity to produce a stellar action shot; here, Gibson caught pro mountain biker Darren Berrecloth, 23, notching a 180-degree footplant near San Rafael Swell, Utah, last February. "When we got there, the sun was already behind the hill and everybody was pretty disappointed," says the 42-year-old lensman, who lives in Bow Valley, Alberta. "But I put up two remote flashes and set Berrecloth loose. It was the last shot of a long day."
Gibson shot digitally, using an ISO of 100 and a 70-200mm lens set at f/5.6.
Frank Ockenfels 3
Frank Ockenfels 3 was the official portrait photographer for the Outside special edition Faces: The 20 Greatest Athletes Now, currently at www.faces-mag.com. Seventeen of the featured pros gathered at a desert studio near Los Angeles in May, among them 24-year-old freestyle skier Kristi Leskinen, opposite, and mountain biker Kyle Strait, 18. "It was noon and 102 degrees," recalls the Encino, California-based Ockenfels, "but all the athletes were great sports. Celebrity in their world doesn't seem to come with a self-important ego."
For these shots he used 50-speed film and a six-inch lens set at f/2.9 on his vintage Graflex Super D four-by-five.
Ian Hylands was in coastal Rye, New Hampshire, at June 2004's Big Wheels street-mountain-biking competition, when 26-year-old pro Eric Porter dragged him to the ocean. "Eric saw this seawall and just had to ride it," says the Vancouver, British Columbia-based action-sports photographer, 37. But Porter wasn't content just to roll seven feet up the concave embankment.
"He kept trying to get his pedal above the lip," says Hylands, who used 100-speed film and a 20-35mm lens set at f/10, with an exposure time of 1/250 second.
Sterling Lorence was on hand for the filming of the Collective's new freeride film, Roam, when he got this shot of 23-year-old pro mountain biker Darren Berrecloth high-marking a giant sandstone bowl at Utah's Bartlett Wash, just north of Moab. "It's like you're on Mars out there," says the West Vancouver, British Columbia-based lensman, 34. "The whole area is just a sea of slickrock; the scale is almost too big."
Lorence used a 28-70mm lens set at f/8, exposing 400-speed film for 1/400 second.
Derek Frankowski set up at a muddy spot between races at last spring's Sea Otter Classic, in Monterey, California, to catch downhiller Jared Graves coming around a bend in a high-speed power slide. "These guys are so talented, they don't even hit the brakes; they just carve right through the turn," says the 28-year-old Rossland, British Columbia-based action photographer.
Shooting digitally with a 16mm fisheye set at f/4 on his Nikon D2X, he used an ISO of 400 with an exposure time of 1/1,250 second.
Victor Lucas had to walk, crawl, and poke his head out over the airy 600-foot precipice of western Ireland's Cliffs of Moher to shoot Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Hans Rey and 2006 Downhill World Cup champion Steve Peat riding the five-foot ledge. "I was having nightmares trying to control my nerves while Hans was jumping over little gaps," says the 38-year-old Dublin-based photographer.
Lucas shot digitally with his Canon 1Ds Mark II (set at ISO 1,600) and a 70-200mm lens, exposing the frame for 1/500 second at f/4.5.
Norwegian Trond Hansen launched this "one-foot tabletop" at Hafjell Bike Park, near Lillehammer, last September, laying his Specialized SX on its side in midair before remounting and landing cleanly. "You want it to look stylish. It's an easy trick to do, but it's hard to do well," says the 25-year-old pro.
BACKSTORY: Sweden-based photographer Mattias Fredriksson used a strobe to fill in the shadows and included the treetops to emphasize the vastness of the backdrop. The difficulty was finding a shot that rider and photographer could agree on. "He tried ten times," Fredriksson says of Hansen. "He wasn't happy with his style, so we did it until he was."
THE TOOLS: Nikon D2X, ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/320 second, 72-200mm f/2.8 lens
Last October, after being lured to the Gobi Desert by images from Google Earth, mountain biker Darren Berrecloth, 26, and photographer Blake Jorgenson, 32, lucked onto this dirt-and-gravel slope in the Flaming Mountains, in China's Xinjiang Province. "It's like powder on top of a groomer," said Jorgenson. "He's able to go fast and still carve. If it was firm, he'd be skidding out of control."
BACKSTORY: Jorgenson crossed a river and hiked up to a cliff to capture Berrecloth's 1,000-vertical-foot descent. "The dust gives a sense of speed and direction," says the Whistler-based photographer. "That cloud was still there even after he'd stopped."
THE TOOLS: Nikon D2X, ISO 100, f/5, 1/1,000 second, 80-200mm f/2.8 lens
Pro mountain biker Darren Berrecloth, 26, turned the surreal landscapes of Turkey's Cappadocia region into his personal playground."The way the rocks and the spires were formed, it was like a luge course," says , a 33-year-old Seattle photographer. "Darren rode as if water would flow through there." Kane, Berrecloth, and a team of riders were in Turkey to shoot scenes for their film New World Order VII. "There are old caves where people lived thousands of years ago,"Kane says. "We'd take breaks in them to cool off."
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS-1D Mark II, 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO400, f/10, 1/1,000 second
On a lazy Saturday afternoon in April, Dinno Kovic drove 15 minutes from his home in San Francisco to the Marin Headlands, where he caught this spring fog rolling in on the Golden Gate Bridge."I always wanted to capture this scene," says Kovic. "I spent two hours looking for exactly the right location and angle." He found it while perched on top of a highway barrier on five-mile-long Conzelman Road, a favorite of Bay Area cyclists. "This is just a typical shot and a typical day in San Francisco," he says, "but what makes it atypical is that in no other city in America can you go for a half-hour bike ride and get that view."
THE TOOLS: Canon 5D, 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens, ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/4,000 second